Malthaes stepped through the portal, catching a scent of the Hinterlands breeze and the acrid smell of burning trees. Almost immediately through he saw them, approaching the stone ramp. Alliance.
He looked down at his imp, Piztal, who chattered with anticipation. He needed to get his jars of Nightmare to safety, but he could not trust the imp with both jars. Though sealed with the arcane, he was sure that, given the influence the Nightmare had on himself, the imp would be overpowered by handling both jars. In a flash he took one out, handed it to the imp, and leered at him.
“Get this to the Sanctum and get back here. I’ll hold them off.”
The imp chattered and, with a crack, took off through the Nether.
Malthaes turned and saw the portal to the Emerald Dream fade, and then become inactive. He would have no easy escape. He faced the two Alliance walking up the steps, a paladin girl and what looked like someone in the form of a Stone Drake. He raised his eyebrow, and hitched a grin on his face.
“What are you doing here?” the Stone Drake said to him in Orcish.
“Do not use the language of the Horde,” Malthaes retorted in Common.
“Fine,” the Drake responded, resorting to Common. “What are you doing here?”
“None of your business,” Malthaes said smoothly, watching the Drake and paladin girl advance on him. There was something familiar about the girl, something he couldn’t quite place.
“What were you doing in there? You ain’t supposed to be in there,” the girl said, nodding to the Emerald portal.
“And what would you know of who is supposed to be in there?” Malthaes said. “Do not tell me where I am and am not supposed to go.”
They advanced on him. He curled his hands, wreathing them in flame.
“No closer now,” he said.
“Then tell me what you’re doing here,” the Drake said back. Irritated, Malthaes turned his gaze to it.
“I grow tired of you commanding me,” Malthaes said.
A noise issued from the Drake’s hearthstone, and, distracted, lowered his head to the noise. Seizing on the disruption, Malthaes cast a bolt of fel flame at the girl. She turned and held up her hands, dodging the brunt but still wreathed in fire. He snarled, ready to cast again, and –
A garrote wire slipped over his head and around his neck, choking him. At the same time, a cudgel knocked him at his knees, taking away his balance. He fell to one knee, gasping for air, the wire digging into his neck. He chanted and the wire disappeared into a burst of flame and faded to ash. Singed, recovering from the surprise attack, he chanted again, a dark rune appearing underneath the Stone Drake’s feet.
“Stop him from casting!” he cried, and one of his surprise attackers kneed him across the face. The chant ended immediately – Malthaes’s head snapped to the right, blood filling his mouth. His face throbbed, and he looked up to see the paladin girl holding a sword to his head. Behind him were two rogues, one with a cudgel to his knee and a vice like grip on the back of his neck. The other, the one with the garrote wire, stood over him.
To his right a Tauren druid appeared, shifting out of bird form.
“What is going on here?” the druid asked, bewildered.
“Another example of Alliance treachery,” Malthaes said, blood coming from the side of his mouth.
“He came out of there,” the girl replied, her eyes watering from the fel flames that she put out. She looked burned, her eyes injured from the attack. Or perhaps just irritated.
Malthaes took stock of his attackers. He recognized the tabard the girl was wearing – members of the Terra Incognita. With a sigh he realized his folly. Seradane was close to their base of operations in Aerie Peak. He knew about them by proxy of the Modas, as he never had any direct dealings with them before. But something looked familiar about them. As they talked above him, holding him to the ground, he realized that he had seen them before, in the mind of the worgen druid that invaded his flat in Silvermoon. The girl was named Erelyn, yes. The Stone Drake, presumably their leader, was Lahkin. One of the rogues, the one with the garrote wire, was Kordrion. The second rogue he was unfamiliar with, though he thought he caught the name Arl. The druid, obviously unaffiliated with an Alliance group – what was the druid’s name? Maybe the tauren said Duskie, something like that.
Though Horde, Duskie had no qualms with expressing outrage that a warlock came through the Emerald Dream.